Church groups reserve judgment on new birth control rule

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is proposing a work-around for religious non-profit groups that object to providing health insurance that covers birth control.

The new regulation attempts to create a barrier between the religious groups and the coverage, by having insurers or a third party giving women free access to contraception.

It's not clear whether religious leaders will accept the new approach. The birth control requirement has been challenged in a series of lawsuits.

The Catholic Health Association, a trade group for hospitals, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops each said they were studying the proposed regulations.

The requirement was part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. Most employers, including faith-affiliated hospitals and nonprofits, are required to provide health insurance that includes artificial contraception as a free preventive service.

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